I’m being told to empty my mind as I sit with a headset on with four electrodes – three on my ear and one on my forehead – in front of a giant screen. On a small monitor attached to my seat, I see lines that represent my laidback alpha brainwaves drop steadily down to the bottom of the screen (ah, so all that yogic downward-dogging does actually calm you).
Now I have to ramp my brain up again: I’m directed to start concentrating hard as I stare at a live screen of the CN Tower in Toronto (I could have chosen Niagara Falls or Ottawa’s parliament buildings). As my beta brainwaves go to work I make the 1,300 LED lights around the structure spin – and, not to show off, but I mean Whirling-Dervish spin. Read more...
Thought-controlled lights illuminating Niagara Falls during the winter Olympics? Maybe this will cheer up the Vancouver locals apparently dreading the upcoming games.
Toronto-based company InteraXon (which specializes in thought controlled computing) is planning an installation where visitors will be able to control live light shows at Niagara Falls with their thoughts, from Vancouver. The project, Bright Ideas, is described as the the wold's largest thought-controlled experience. Read more...
If you're in the mood to feel an overwhelming sense of power, hop on a plane and go to the Ontario Pavilion at the Olympics in Vancouver. There, you can control the lights on the CN Tower with your mind. Yes, that's right: with your mind. Read more...
It wouldn't be the Olympics without distractions; the 2006 Winter Games in Turin had their Austrian doping scandals, and the most recent Summer Games in Beijing were punctuated by an epic opening ceremony followed by rampant media censorship. Not to be outdone, Canada's Bright Ideas installation will allow visitors to the upcoming Vancouver Games the chance to control lighting installations at major landmarks in faraway Ontario using only their thoughts. Read more...
Genom att bara använda sina tankar kan besökare på vinter-OS genomföra stordåd. Belysningen på CN Tower i Toronto, parlamentet i Ottawa och Niagara-fallen kan styras med tankekraft från Ontario Pavilion. Read more...
If you're planning to be at the upcoming Vancouver Olympics, take time to stop at the Ontario pavilion and give a thought to tech startup InteraXon.
That thought could be about lighting up Niagara Falls. Or the CN Tower. Or Ottawa's Parliament buildings.
Mind-controlled computing has come off the pages of sci-finovels into real life and Toronto-based InteraXon is at the Olympics with the hope that demonstrating the technology to a world audience will help move it into the mainstream. Read more...
How many ways can you turn on the lights? The most common ways are turning a switch, clapping, or using a remote control. What about just by thinking about it?
During the Winter Olympics in Canada this month, a Canadian company called "InteraXon" is doing an experiment, in which the Olympic "visitors use their brainwaves to control the lights at three major landmarks in Canada, such as Niagara Falls." "When people put on the headsets and find themselves increasing the brightness of the lights by just thinking about it, you can almost see their brains explode," says Trevor Coleman, the chief operating officer for InteraXon. Read more...
Ontario House offers free admission to the general public in order to experience Ontario. With a daytime capacity of 450 people, visitors to Ontario House will be able to change the nightly illumination of three of the province's major tourism icons-the CN Tower, Niagara Falls and Ottawa's own Parliament Buildings-utilizing innovative new thought-controlled computing technology designed by Toronto-based firm InteraXon. After donning special headsets, guests will be taught to use their brainwaves to control the three light shows taking place in Ontario, over 3,000 km (1,864 miles) away. Read more...
Aber was ist für uns Menschen die intuitivste Steuerungsmöglichkeit? Steuerung nicht unserer Gedanken, sondern durch die Gedanken. Oder um genauer zu sein über elektrische Potentiale die sich über der Kopfoberfläche ableiten lassen. InteraXon, eine kanadische Tüftlerschmiede, möchte dieses Jahr das o.g. Konzept pünktlich zu den Olympischen Winterspielen in Vancouver im großen Stile vorstellen. So haben Besucher des Ontario Pavilion die Möglichkeit mit einer Vorrichtung ähnlich einem EEG (Elektroenzephalografie) und ihren Gedanken, Live-Lichtershows an verschiedenen Stellen Kanadas zu steuern. Read more...
You can watch the video here or on BNN's site.
Earlier this year Society of Women Engineers Magazine profiled InteraXon partner Ariel Garten in their cover story on women working in the field of wearable computing.
CTV featured InteraXon and their Star Trek themed brainwave game in their national news broadcast's webMANIA segment earlier this year.
You can watch the video here or on CTV's site.
While they ready the chair you can levitate with your mind, there's time for a little concert ...
Water squirts and pools on the floor as Steve Mann's fingers fly across his "hydraulophone," coaxing "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star" out of the tadpole-shaped instrument.
"It's sophisticated frolic," says Mann, creator of the hydraulophone, the water organ.
Mann is part of a team behind a little piece of techno Neverland at work on Dundas St. W. In the cluttered offices of InteraXon Thought Controlled Computing, a host of Tinkerbell-worthy gadgets are taking flight.
"It's a pretty creative atmosphere," says lead researcher Ariel Garten, about the fledgling firm. Perhaps the most thought-provoking of the projects being pursued at the funked-out facility are the games and gadgets that can be manipulated with the mind.
Your mind can even levitate a chair and influence the accompanying sound and music, Garten explains.
To run the mind-controlled devices, users have electroencephalograph sensors. These sensors pick up the tiny electronic pulses — microvolt in intensity — that buzz like subatomic bees across your head. The pulses are the signature signals of brain activity.
All of our thoughts, movements, and states of mind are the products of neurochemical cascades that run along neurological pathways in the form of electronic impulses.
"The summation of all this electrical communication can actually be read outside of your brain," says Garten, an accomplished artist and fashion designer, who also trained in neuroscience. "And outside your head the amassment of all this electrical activity is summed up ... and you can read the general trend of your brain."
The specific "trend" of impulses the InteraXon team capture are Alpha waves, which are generated when the mind is "blissfully, calmly" relaxed, Garten explains.
"So you have to relax," she says as you sink back into the cushioned chair, which dangles on a chain from a ceiling missing a few tiles.
Breathe deeply and slowly, think of ocean waves. And on a computer screen before you, a line measuring your Alpha wave output begins to spike as you will your mind to relax.
When you're calmed down enough to push the spike past a tripping line, an electronic winch begins to lift the chair.
"So, it's a really nice metaphor for a kind of meditative state," Garten says. "Everybody has always dreamed that as you meditate you could ... levitate yourself."
As metaphors go, it may be nice imagery. As a practical matter, it results from InteraXon's painstaking software programming that allows it to capture the Alpha waves, isolate them from all other electronic noise — from other computers, cellphones — and amplify them into a usable electronic signal.
"All of that is nullified and we're just getting your pure brainwave in a way that's meaningful," says Garten. And with that isolated brainwave, Garten says, anything that can be plugged in can conceivably be manipulated by Alpha activity.
InteraXon's main goal, Garten says, is as lofty as the chair.
"We're here to change the face of thought-controlled computing," she says. "(It's) becoming much more common and it's really the breaking point for this technology."
Garten describes the company as a "start up" that launched a year ago. It has five partners, who initially financed the company themselves, but buzz about their work has attracted willing investors.
InteraXon is actively developing commercial games and other gadgets for a general market.
The technology also has obvious implications for people with physical impairments, from those who suffer from such degenerative diseases such as ALS and Parkinson's, to those with spinal-cord injuries. But InteraXon's focus is to bring the technology to the general public.
And as interest heightens and technology is created — in the form of computer games and other gadgets — the sophistication will grow and prices fall, Garten predicts.
It's this technology-price cycle that will bring thought-controlled computing to the field of assisted medical devices, says Tom Chau, who holds the Canada Research Chair in Pediatric Rehabilitation Engineering at Toronto's Bloorview MacMillan Children's Centre.
Chau's Bloorview team creates devices to help severely disabled kids interact with the world.
"Of course, the more this kind of technology gets developed, the more useful it will be for our needs," says Chau.
When Trevor Coleman's friend threw a Star Trek convention, he could have slapped on some pointy-ears for a costume and attended like most fans. Instead he contributed a brainwave-controlled video game straight out of an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation.
Toronto-based InteraXon had developed a system that measures brainwave activity using electrodes held in place with a rubber headband, then converts those readings into an output that can manipulate a computer. It's a little bit different from using a mouse and keyboard.
The Star Trek convention was perfect for the technology's first public debut, Coleman says. It just took a graphical interface made to approximate one seen in Star Trek episode The Game.
"By entering and leaving particular brain states, you can control a seat vibrator that gives them tactile feedback," he says. "Also, the video image and the game are controlled with your mind alone."
InteraXon demonstrated their technology at the Premier's Innovation Awards on Tuesday. Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty slipped the rubber band and electrodes onto his head and shot a few discs into a moving cylinder -- the object of the game.